Mystic Aquarium’s Penguins Celebrate Pride in The Cutest Way Possible
June is National Pride Month, and the animals at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut sure didn't missing out on an opportunity to spread the love.
A group of six of the aquarium's penguins got to waddle around the grounds recently, holding their very own pride parade. Mystic's communications manager Kendall Rabeneck said that the idea of a penguin parade came up pretty casually, and the aquarium decided to run with it, especially because so many opportunities to celebrate Pride in the last year have been nixed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"A lot of places haven't been able to do pride parades in the past year, including places in Connecticut and Rhode Island, so it was, 'Well why not? Let's do our own, and the penguins are perfect for that,'" Rabeneck said.
Preparations soon began for the festive event. Rainbow flags lined the parade route, and the aquarium even made special rainbow armbands for the penguins to wear, armbands that are identical in style to those they wear on a daily basis to help staff distinguish which penguins are which.
"We bought a couple rainbow beads and created little bracelets for them that...wouldn't affect them or their mobility at all," Rabeneck said.
All decked out in their Pride attire, six of Mystic's 32 penguins set out around the aquarium, showing their support and exploring new places as staff watched them and celebrated along the way.
"It's just a portion of the overall colony that participated, mainly because we can't have 32 penguins out there and having all the staff watching them," Rabeneck said. "We just got some of the penguins that could use a fun enrichment where they're able to explore and learn within the public area."
One of the aquarium's most recognizable residents even got involved in the parade, hanging out just behind his glass barrier that was covered in fun rainbow stickers for the event.
"Juno is the [beluga] whale that a lot of people will recognize at the aquarium because he really enjoys interacting with guests in the underwater viewing," Rabeneck said. "He's the one that will be in front of the glass and open up his mouth toward kids or likes enjoying listening to music. Anytime there's activity within that area, usually he'll take notice."
If the whole idea of a penguins and Pride seems a little familiar, it's because it is. Remember this scene from Parks and Recreation, when Leslie Knope married two of the Pawnee Zoo's male penguins? Mystic's penguin parade gives the same vibes, and we are here for it.
"Leslie [K]nope smiling so hard somewhere!!!" TikTok user @nikkiinnewyorkcity wrote.